2015 Drifter Tracks

resolving transport pathways through New England's continental shelf waters and beyond

updated every two hours

See a GoogleMap of just this month's tracks.
See leaflet animation of all tracks.
See the latest quicker gif animation of tracks.
Download drifter construction manuals and lesson plans
Find out how to get involved with the project
See frequently asked questions
Predict where a drifter (deployed off New England) will go
To see this month's tracks overlaid on other fields (sst, models, etc), go to the MARACOOS site and click on "Drifter" layer.
See drifters and unmanned sailboats documented at NERACOOS
Read a description of the drifters themselves and how to use them.
Access the historical drifter data.
Blog about students deploying drifters with our MATE colleagues
Document a drifter finding
Read about drifters in the news
Get information on a related unmanned sailboat project
Plots of this year's tracks are linked in the table below.
Get raw statistics.
Check on your satellite fix use.
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Drifter tracks from other years:
2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014

To get PYTHON processing routines, email james.manning@noaa.gov for the latest versions.

To see information on individual clusters, click the links in the following chronological table

Institution (data) Deployer (report/blog) Date Deployed (animation) Dropsite (forecast) #units Science (googleearth) Status (googlemap) Type of Unit (photo) Fate (photo)
Educational PassagesBaldwin02 Dec 2012 Gulf Stream 3educational underwayboats under saildeployed Dec 1st, 2012 off N. Carolina by Joe Robillard; one found by a small boat fishermen near Guernsey Island (off the NW corner of France) on Feb 16th, 2014 and was redeployed in the Bay of Biscay in Jan 2015 but came ashore in France 10 days later, one got stuck in what is apparently a "garbage patch" SW of the Azores for nearly a year, one did a gyre loop back to SC after a few months.
Educational PassagesBaldwin08 Nov 2013 North Atlantic9educational underwayboats under sailtwo deployed off N. Carolina by Joe Robillard, two deployed from the Canaries by PLOCAN, and five deployed by New England offshore Lobstermen Todd Ellis, Bob Colbert, and Bro Cote. One landed in Portugal and one in Spain in mid-November 2014. One of the Canaries-launched units, "Glenna", crossed to Brazil in two months!
Truro Central SchoolOLeary28 Oct 2014 Off Cape Cod1educationdoneIrina surface drifter retained in Great South Channel for weeks, eventually entrained in the shelf-slope front jet to MAB, then the Gulf Stream, until it started failing mid-February beyond the seamounts
Educational PassagesBaldwinlate 2014 multiple places 7educational underwayboat under sail one made a soft landing on a sandy beach in Ireland after four months at sea and brought into a classroom, another made a hard landing in the Orkney Islands of Northern Scotland and has not been heard from since, ...
Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and ServicesDusek/Standridge03 Dec 2014 Chesapeake Bay1model validationdone Irina surface drifter oscillated off the eastern shore for a few days, headed out into the Gulf Stream and then a cold core ring, until battery probably died in Feb 2015
Southern Maine Community CollegeLong/Tarbox 04 Dec 2014 Casco Bay1educationdoneEddie surface drifter quickly moved south into Mass Bay, Georges Bank, and eventually all the way past the Grand Banks before it died in early May 2015
Jacksonville UnivStalker06 Feb 2015 off Florida3river plumedonesurface drifters "Crystal" sank, "BigBoy" went ashore after 1-2 days, while "Wilson" traveled thousands of kilometers out into the Atlantic
South Shore Natural Science CenterGaluzzo05 Mar, 21 May, 11 June, 28 July 2015 Mass Bay5educationdoneall-wood surface drifter in March and two aluminum and 1 bamboo in May, more aluminum in June and July all wood exited the bay in less than a week and evidently went down in a storm on Nantucket Shoals (18 March), Plymouth ( alum & bamboo(ESN 996055) and Hull (alum) drifters deployed 21 May headed out to sea, Weymouth (alum) deployed off Bill D's boat went to Marblehead in 6 days and redeployed in Plymouth Harbor on 28 July and died on Georges Bank months later (for more, see blog)
University of Central FloridaMansfield16 Mar 2015 off Brazil1turtlesdonebucket? Landed on a remote sandy beach hundreds of kilometers to the south a week later.
Cape Fear Community CollegeDegan30 Mar, 21 Apr, and 16 Jun 2015 Gulf Stream3Marine Techunderwayunmanned sailboat one quit after a week, one landed on Hatteras after a month where the USCG responded to report of a "capsized boat on the beach" and laughed when they found, to their surprize, the miniboat which got redeployed on 16 June and ...
Florida State UniversityBalwada22 Mar 2015 Gulf of Mexico3Marine Scidonedrifters? short multi-hour deployments within Apalachicola Bay
Swampscot HighWilbur/Ratley17 Apr, 29 May, 22 Dec 2015 Mass Bay6educationdoneIrina and Eddie surface drifters first pair (April) came aground in a few days, the second pair (May) ended in several days with one being recovered from the water by a Hingham fisherman and one landing on a Nahant beach, and a third deployment (150420705&6 Dec) was deployed fishermen, Paul Garcelone, 1.5 miles south of Marblehead on 22 December but, for unknown reasons, they failed to report
Suffolk UnivStehlin17 Apr 2015Mass Bay1engineering experimentdonedrogued drifter slow start but made it around the Cape and on to Nantucket Shoals in mid-May, died late July off NJ
Scottish Gov'tHughes/Berx05 May 2015Northern Scotland8HF Radar validationdone4x4 mast surface drifters a couple failed after several hours in the water but other six headed east to come ashore on the Shetland Islands
Educational PassagesBaldwin2015 multiple places 7educational underwayboat under sail includes the "Bon Voyage" trip ending in France in late November 2015
Eastern Maine SkippersGuenther et al14 May, 2 July, 29 July, 3 Aug 2015Maine Coast5high school sciencedoneIrina surface drifters workshop-built drifters to deployed by Narraguagus High(stuck in Jordan's Basin), Vinalhaven High, Deer Island High (Johnson Boyse's F/V JackieO)LAPCOD (off Winter Harbor Whale Watch Boat picked up days later and redeployed offshore) ; Jonesport unit never reported
Grays Reef Marine SanctuaryPeterson18 May 2015 Georgia2river outflow/dye studydonebamboo cassie surface drifters headed to the Gray Reef Sanctuary and then stopped reporting GPS
GOMILauber/Trimper/Balkus/Terry03 Jun 2015off Merrimack River6educationdoneIrina surface drifters student deployed!
UNESchotte15 Jun 2015off Saco River1educationdonestudent designs best selected of many; was deployed after testing many with students on board; died in mid-Oct beyond Georges Bank
Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and ServicesDusek/Standridge19 Jun 2014 Alaska3model validationdone Irina surface drifters two recovered while underway 1-2 days in and the 3rd came ashore on east side of Dundas Bay
Univ of MarylandXia30 Jun 2014 Lake Michigan6DispersiondoneIrina surface drifters a few failed, a few came ashore after a week, and a few skirted the coast for a month before also coming aground on the eastern shore
Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and ServicesDusek/Standridge5 Jul 2014 Alaska2model validationdone Irina surface drifters one ashore on a mid-sound island after a two days and one exited the sound and came ashore four days later south of the mouth where it was recovered by Steve's salmon-pen-tendering brother one
GOMITerry/Hollaron03 Jul 2015Bay of Fundy2educationdoneIrina surface drifters student deployed! One ashore for awhile on North Head of Grand Manan 22 July and later on White Head Island (never recovered) while the other one ended up on Heron Island east of Isle Au Haut in late August 2015
OceanExplorationTrustBeckendorf/Garson19 Jul 2015California1educationdoneIrina surface drifters student deployed!
Tabor Academy/NOAABill, Randall and Anderson20 Jul 2015Buzzards Bay3instrument testsdoneIrina surface drifters, Tabor surface, and Tim drogue incoming Freshmen deployed off the Academy's Tabor Boy vessel including new "Tim" play tunnel drogue but the two surface units came ashore on Nashawena the next day (both eventually recovered by the Tabor Boy) while the drogued drifter was recovered drogueless on the south side of Long Island, NY on 21 August by Peter Daniel, a biology professor at Hofstra University, who tracks trout
University of GeorgiaCasteleo22 Jul 2015Gulf of Mexico3w/glidersdoneexperimental floatie drifters two stopped reporting after a few days and the third a few weeks later
Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and ServicesDusek/Standridge20 Jul 2014 Alaska3model validationdone Irina surface drifters all recover a few days later
Center for Student Coastal ResearchBuckley5, 25 Aug and 31 Oct 2015Mass Bay6marine debrisunderwaysurface drifters Deployed by Paul Adams and students
OceanExplorationTrustGarson08 Aug 2015California4educationdoneIrina surface & Colin Drogues drifters drogue#2 didn't survive a few hours but the other drogue and the two surface units did fine until the drogue washed up on San Nicolas Island and one of the surface on a San Diego Beach a week or so later
VIMSSantos12 Aug 2015Chesapeake2turtlesdone buckets prep for wooden turtle study with pole ballast to be deployed eventually...headed out the river mouth in the 5 hour test deploymentYork River and recovered
Hurricane IslandAnderson and Page23 Aug 2015 off Southern Maine1educationdonesurface drifter Deployed by Rozalia Project's R/V American Promise but apparently failed soon after
Grays Reef Marine SanctuaryPeterson1 Sep 2015 Georgia1river outflow/dye studydonebamboo cassie surface drifter headed south along the coast and was picked up by a fishermen 10 miles off Sebastian Inlet mid-coast Florida in 11 October
UNH Center and Marine BiologyGoldstein/Morrissey16 Sep 2015 Great Bay1lobstersdonebuckets often short tracks
Great Lake Environmental Research LabRuberg24 Sep 2015 Lakes Huron and Michigan 3exchange doneEddie 2x4 drifters two came ashore of south side of Lake Huron between Mackinaw and Cheboygan on 9/30 and the other went ashore on the northeast corner of Beaver Island in Lake Michigan in early October.
South Shore Natural Science Center/BattelleGaluzzo6,8,25,27,31 Oct 2015 Mass Bay5educationdonesurface drifters Weymouth (by Bill Doherty's lobster boat), Hull_High (by Eric Meschino's); Hanover_Middle_School, Rockland, and Plymouth_Middle_School
Long Beach Island SchoolMcBride07 Oct 2015 off New Jersey1educationunderwayIrina surface drifter deployed by Pete Dolan, a Barnegat Light fisherman, took off in the Gulf Stream and ...
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctury/GOMI/Nauset & Monomoy High schoolsMacManus/Prescott07, 21, and 22 Oct 2015Cape Cod Bay~10turtles & educationdoneIrina surface drifters Nauset & Monomoy Schools; first unit went to N Truro beach, some of 2nd cluster went to Barnstable Harbor (recovered by Greg Hamm) & Dennis mud flats (Shawney recovered one and Jim Mills photographed another before it went in Quivett Creek); in general, the 3 batches showed them grounding at a variety of places from Barnstable to P-town
GOMITerry et alOct 2015 - Jan 2016Gulf of Maine~13turtles,cod, & educationunderwayIrina surface drifters RVCS units deployed with students on-board circled around for a few weeks and landed on Isle of Shoals (recovered by Star Island Conf Center folks) and Hampton NH rocks (recovered by JiM's students). There was not much left to them when they were recovered. RVCS redeployed both in late Nov (one died in GSC on Dec 20 and one came ashore on New Years Eve busted at Race Point to be recovered by a beachwalker & Jesse from PCCS). Harborlights Montesorri (working with Salem Sound Coastwatch and MassDMF) deployed one (150420707) in Mass Bay cod spawning grounds on 18 December; Kennebunk High worked with GMRI to deploy another in early January in Ipswich Bay
First Presbyterian Day SchoolLewis 12 Oct 2015 Gulf of Mexico 1elementary education doneIrina surface drifter assembled by 5th graders, deployed by Dept. of Natural Resources, coming ashore a few weeks later
Savannah StateHintz 16 Oct 2015 off S Carolina 2flood water education doneCassie bamboo surface drifters Assembled by Savannah State University undergraduate and graduate Oceanographic Instrumentation classes (MSCI 4572 & MSCI 6572) to study the fate and transport of historic SC floodwaters entering the coastal ocean; headed down to Florida, out to the gulf stream, and died a few days after New Years near New England Seamounts
Univ. of ConnecticutWhitney/Jia 23 Oct 2015 Ct River Mouth 5flood water education donebuckets Oceanography class activity; one came ashore at Old Dock Marina after a few hours, was redeployed at Avery Py and came ashore again Groton Long Pt. The other got out into the Sound, oscillated for several days, and came up on a beach south of New London on 29 Oct. A pair was released on 30 Oct with Waterford High but ended up on Fishers Island soon after.
Southern Maine Community CollegeLong/Tarbox17 Nov and Dec 2 2015Casco Bay6educationunderwayEddie and tall Lauren surface drifters 1346667 Lauren;1346664 Lauren;1346988 Eddie;1344335 Eddie;1346696 Lauren;1347019 Eddie;1346688 Eddie
Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctury/GOMI/MiddlesexCommCollegeMacManus/Moffatlate Nov 2015Cape Cod Bay1turtles & educationdoneIrina surface drifters one MCC unit transitting for a few weeks and died
NOAA/NESDISOndrusek12 Dec 2015 off S Carolina 1Education doneIrina surface drifter short demo recovered after 8 hours
Educational PassagesBaldwin2016 multiple places 10?educational underwayboat under sail includes the "Crimson Voyager" deployed in late 2015; "Lightning Bolt" and "SS DCA Eagle" late winter 2016;
NOAA Marine DebrisCape May Fishermen27 Feb 2016 Shelf edge 1marine debrisunderwayIrina surface drifter First deployed off Cape May, NJ by F/V Karen Elizabeth on 27 Feb
NOAA Marine DebrisEssex MA Tech 17 Mar 2016 off Gloucester 1marine debrisunderwayIrina surface drifter Deployed by fishermen, Jim Ford
Jacksonville Univ/Bolles School/Foundation AcademyStalker/Murphy/Paris16 Mar 2016 off Florida5river plumeunderwaysurface drifters Larger Bolles' School drifter tracked differently than standard size units
University of GeorgiaCasteleo29 Mar 2016off Georgia1Altamaha river outfallunderwayrevised experimental drifters
South Shore Natural Science CenterGaluzzoJun 2016? Mass Bay2educationplannedsurface drifters Plymouth_Middle_School redeployment in February and Inly School's first in June

Note: Most units are prepared by marine science students. The majority are standard "surface drifters" marking only the top 1-meter of the water column, but some units, as in the case of EP boats, track the wind and wave at the surface and some have subsurface drogues typically centered at 10m-15m below the surface. For details, call 508-495-2211 or email james.manning@noaa.gov.